Tag Archive | "Petco Park"

chaseheadley

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Free Chase Headley!

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Will Emerson

In baseball, and I guess life itself,  it is always fun to play the “What if..” game. Always! What if Miguel Cabrera played for a contender, but in a hitter’s park? What if Bud Norris could pitch nearly as well on the road as he does at home? What if Tim McCarver enlightened people with his thoughts and insights? See? It’s a fun game, right? That’s rhetorical folks, just keep reading. I mean there is no real way to answer these questions, they are just posed to incite spirited debate and conjecture. Which brings me to Chase Headley.

As you know, Chase Headley plays for the San Diego Padres, who play their home games in Petco Park, which is widely known to be a picther’s park, to say the least. In 2012, for instance, only Safeco Field and AT&T Park proved harder to hit the ball out of and fewer runs were scored in only three other parks. So naturally, the home power, and generally all, numbers would be a bit on the low side for Padres hitters. Sure a very good hitter, like Adrian Gonzalez, can still do some damage there, but for most mere mortal hitters their numbers will get sapped and their fantasy value will drop. And no one’s value has been taking a bigger hit over the past few seasons because of this, than Mr. Headley.

Mired in this pitcherest of pitcher’s parks Headley’s fantasy and real life value can tend to be underesitmated. What he is doing in the month of August is a good indicator of what he is capable of. Thus far in August he has ten dingers, which is tied for the most in the month with Giancarlo Stanton.  He is tied with Adrian Gonzalez for the lead in RBIs this month, with 28.  His wOBA for the month is tenth in the majors at .424, and his OPS  of 1.027 is seventh.  Now obviously I am not saying that Headley can rock an OPS, or these other stupendous numbers, quite that high for a full season, but playing home games in a different park, could really raise his fantasy value. Just take a look at his slash lines (AVG/OBP/SLG) at Petco, the last three seasons:

2010- .237/.319/.315

2011- .243/.348/.326

2012- .266/.346/.412

As you can see, at least Chase is slowly improving those home numbers and this season’s numbers are actually somewhat respectable. Plus if he does continue to play for the Padres and their home park stays the same, he could have those home numbers up to above average in two to three seasons, tops! But just how above average could he be if he played half his games in a better hitter’s park? Well take a look at his road slashes over the same three seasons:

2010- .289/.334/.432

2011- .330/.399/.465

2012- .289/.387/.525

If that is any sort of indication of what he can do, freeing him from Petco’s clutches would certainly increase his fantasy value quite a bit. Waht you may not already know, because it certainly flew under my radar, is he is already ranked fifth at the hot corner and 40th overall this season in Yahoo!  The modest improvement to his home numbers appears to already be making a difference, but you have to feel like a different home park would not only keep in the top five amongst third basemen, but also cold make him a top 20-25 overall fantasy player. Just take a look at how his road slashes stack up against the overall numbers of qualifying third basemen this season:

Batting Average:

Miguel Cabrera, DET- .324

David Wright, NYM- .317

Adrian Beltre, TEX- .310

David Freese, STL- .299

Aramis Ramirez, MIL- .291

Chase Headley, SD- .289

OBP:

David Wright, NYM- .410

Miguel Cabrera, DET- .391

Chase Headley, SD- .387

David Freese, STL- .370

Alex Rodriguez, NYY- .358

 

SLG:

Miguel Cabrera, DET- .586

Chase Headley, SD- .525

Adrian Beltre, TEX- .519

Aramis Ramirez, MIL- .516

David Wright, NYM- .515

Not too shabby, huh? Now of course, this is part of the ‘What if…”  game though, isn’t it? Now, I am by no means naive enough to think there is any sort of guarantee that those numbers will be in that exact range if he were to switch to a better hitter’s park , but it is at least something to think about. As far as the hot corner would be concerned, he wouldn’t move up too much higer than number five as long as Miggy and David Wright are around, but three or four could certainly be attainable. But what if he were to switch parks and what if his road slashes, and numbers in general, were what he posted for a full season? Well, let us take a look, shall we?

Using his road numbers this season his batting average would still not be spectacular, but it would plop him in the top 50 amongst this season’s qualified hitters. A .387 OBP would be good for 13th and a .525 slugging percentage would place him 16th. Sure these are not all numbers that are used in all fantasy leagues and may not necessarily translate to fantasy goodness, so let’s go further and try and extrapolate some counting stats based on Chase’s road numbers.

Using Headley’s fly ball and home run to fly ball rate on the road and applying this to his home at bats this season, you could estimate that he would have eight more home runs at home this season. Obviously this is only an estimate based on quick and somewhat simplistic number crunching, but that would still put him at 30 homers on the year. Now, if his runs and RBIs per plate appearance on the road were applied to his home at bats, he would now have 89 RBIs and 74 runs. Now the runs and RBIs do not get a ginormous boost, but the homers would be greatly enhanced. If he were at thirty home runs at this point in the season would be good for 8th in the majors. His 89 RBIs? Those would be good for sixth in the majors . The 74 runs? Those would put him 25th in the majors. Stacked against other qualifying third basemen this season? In homers he would be 2nd, in RBIs he would be 2nd (although he is already 2nd this season) and in runs he would be 3rd.  Again, this is based on quite a few “What ifs” and certain rates staying the same throughout the season, but you can certainly see that Mr. Headley should be able to stay a top five fantasy third baseman for the future. However, if Chase can be freed from the hitter’s prison that is Petco, it could very well aslo propel him to the likes of at least a top 25 fantasy player. So I say free Chase Headley and the gaudy numbers he could put up in another home park, or at least stay classy and bring those fences in!

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Taking a flier on Fiers

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Taking a flier on Fiers

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Gary Perilloux

Sigh: 2012 has been one of those years. On my once-proud Fantasy roster, Clayton Kershaw is not the Clayton Kershaw of yesteryear. Chad Billingsley isn’t the Clayton Kershaw he was supposed to become this year. And Brian Wilson’s beard is less scary than his elbow.

In the pitchers paradise of Petco Park, Cameron Maybin continues to be all tools and no home improvement. He and my defenseless Dodgers shortstop, Dee Gordon, are creating new faults in the Mendoza Line.
After analyzing the heap of trouble Ryan Braun brewed for himself in the offseason, I concluded brilliantly that Braun would not be worth in 2012 what I paid for him in 2011 ($43). Sigh. Double sigh. (Braun’s hitting at a full-season clip of .310/45/113 with 27 SBs and an OPS of 0.991 that would virtually match the 0.994 of his MVP year. And in our classic 4×4 Roto league this year, he sold for – you guessed it – $43.
Sigh. I look at the lonely first base in Miami now, and my aching heart turns to song for consolation, “Where have you gone, Gaby Sa-a-anchez?” (To New Orleans, with a .202 average on his knee.)
The Five Commandments
This year, I simply succumbed to too many no-no’s at our league’s 29th annual live auction:
  • Thou shalt not participate in a draft en route to an out-of-state vacation.
  • Thou shalt not study the players so furiously that thou fails to devise a bona fide draft strategy.
  • Thou shalt not take a pass on the top players merely because they’re selling for as much or more as last year.
  • Thou shalt not pursue the perfectly balanced team to the exclusion of being great in any single category.
  • Thou shalt not replace a hurt player from the draft with a pitcher or batter merely because they impressed you during your vacation trip to live games.
OK, let’s call it quits at The Five Commandments of Fantasy Drafts. By now, you’ve gained a crystal clear view of my train wreck of a 2012 draft. No need to go to Ten Commandments when the first five guaranteed me the cellar through much of the first half of the season.
After finishing within a whisker of first place last year, I’ve found myself treading 30 points or more back for much of the season. For my beleaguered, rag-tag Fantasy team, the 2012 season has become – in the words of that sage Beltway scholar – a clown year, bro.
And yet I trudge on. I stumble toward October with delusions of red, white and blue bunting in my future and a cascade of brown chocolate Yoo-hoo over my head — the fantasy equivalent of the Gatorade shower. In my heart of hearts, I know those will be unfulfilled dreams this year and — you know what? — I’m OK with that.
What? Yes, you heard me right. Part of surviving a keeper league year after year, and it’s a big part, is knowing when to accept defeat gracefully. I saw the gravity of my mistakes early in the year and accepted the fact that 2012 would become for me a kind of Bryce Harper season, a year of dropped flies and stealing home and learning how to hit second and field questions about celebratory beer in Canada: in short, a teachable year.
It didn’t help that after experiencing an awful draft and watching the Royals stagger through a winless first homestand that I wandered down I-70 later in the week and became enamored of Bronson Arroyo’s masterful dismantling of the Cardinals. Man, the garage band rock star looked like his old self. So among my two dozen waiver moves to replace hurt and demoted draftees this year, I made one of my first picks Bronson Arroyo, who’s now on pace to go 7-10 and win the fewest games since he became a full-time Major League starter: a teachable moment.
Fliers and Hot Fiers
In these fantasy years that try men’s souls, the temptation to throw in the towel and find sweet success in simulation games is great – very great. But I’ll have to pat myself on the back for one thing.
I did the adult thing: I accepted at the outset that I was not going to win the league in 2012. It wasn’t going to happen. And with that pressure off my conscience, I set about building the best fourth-place team you’ve ever seen.
Starting out at rock bottom, I reasoned that getting to the middle of the pack should be reward enough for such a bad start. And if I got to the upper middle of the pack – fourth place – why I’d actually be in the money in our league, and that’s all right with me.
And while I’ve had teachable “bad” moments (see Arroyo) this year, I’ve also had teachable “good” moments. Just last week, when the latest of my pitchers succumbed to elbow badness (Billingsley), I was poised to concede wins, where I’m in next-lo-last place, and go with saves, where I could spring from third to second or even first with one more closer success story.
The timing seemed propitious. The Marlins had promoted Mike Dunn to closer for the struggling Heath Bell; and Dunn converted his first opportunity and was available in our league. No brainer, right?
But wait, here’s Ozzie Guillen talking about the dreaded “closer committee” and I’m not feeling so high on Dunn. And in another corner of the league, there’s this guy named Fiers who’s had five remarkable starts in a row as an under-the-radar prospect, a guy who once broke his back in four places, a guy who willed himself into firing a higher-speed fastball.
I’m a sucker for these guys. I need help in ERA and WHIP, too, so my gut says, “Take a flier on Fiers, take a flier on Fiers, take a flier on Fiers …”
I did, and what do you know? The viscera were right. Fiers pitched 6 innings, 5 hits, 0 BBs, 1 ER, 4 Ks and whittled his ERA to 1.96 in his first start for me. There are the moments you live for: In a season of discontent, where winning is out of the question, here is a mini-win with an additional reward: After a weekend away from baseball, I return home to find my team in fourth place!
And then – sigh – there’s this news: Chad Billingsley is coming back already to test that testy elbow, just as I’m feeling increasingly Fiers-friendly. Don’t you just love it? Here’s hoping the gut goes 2-for-2.

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DOs and DONTs:  San Diego Padres

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DOs and DONTs: San Diego Padres

Posted on 28 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

When fantasy leaguers generally think of the San Diego Padres, they think “avoid the hitters and draft the pitchers”, mainly due to the ballpark affect.  However, as with every rule, there are exceptions.

Here is an analysis of the fantasy Do’s and Don’ts and they pertain to the Padres roster:

DO draft Nick Hundley as your primary catcher.  He hit .288/.347/.477 with 9 homeruns in just 281 at bats last year, a pretty good line for about a half season’s work.  If he can duplicate that over an entire season, he could quickly move into the upper echelon of fantasy catchers.

DON’T draft Orlando Hudson.  His numbers have been in steady decline the last 4 years and what little value he provides with his steals (19 in 2011) is offset by everything else.

DO take a chance on Yonder Alonso in the mid-to-late rounds.  He has a career line of .293/.370/.466 in the minors.  While he might not have the power you expect from a first baseman and Petco Park will dampen that even more, he should hit for a good average and a bunch of doubles.  He shouldn’t be your starting first baseman, but would fit well in the corner infielder spot.

DON’T roster Jason Bartlett.  Like Hudson, he is another guy who may give you some steals, but little else.  He will be a drag on your batting average and will not provide you with many runs or rbis, so he is best left for your bench or better yet someone else’s team.

DO expect better things from Cameron Maybin.  After struggling in his first few years in the majors with the Miami Marlins, Maybin finally got an opportunity to really show what he could do and literally ran with it.  He stole 40 bases in his first full year and has the potential to steal even more if he can cut down on his strikeouts and draw a few more walks.  I expect him to top 50 steals this year and add 10-15 homeruns.

DON’T expect much from Carlos Quentin.  He is moving from a hitters park to a pitchers park this season and, after his career year in 2008, has only averaged about 24 homeruns while hitting below .250.  Petco will sap his power and drag down his average even more, making him a player to avoid in mixed leagues and shallow NL only leagues.

I DO like Cory Luebke, a lot.  After spending the first half of the season coming out of the pen, Luebke was outstanding after joining the rotation at the end of June.  With an ERA of 3.29 and 154 strikeouts in 139.2 innings pitched, you would think that Luebke benefited from pitching his home games at Petco.  However, he actually had a better road ERA, 2.55, than his home ERA of 4.04.

I DON’T trust Clayton Richard.  Sure he had a fine 3.88 ERA in 2011, but his lack of strikeouts (just 53 in 99.2 IP) and his 1.42 whip are reasons for concern. Roster him at your own risk.

I DO believe that Tim Stauffer is a product of the Petco effect, but I don’t care.  He had a 2.57 ERA at home and a 4.95 ERA on the road in 2011, but if your league allows you to play matchups, well you know what to do.

DON’T sleep on Andrew Cashner.  He has a power arm and will work as the setup man for Huston Street.  Given Street’s injury history, Cashner would make a good late round pick and could become this year’s Rafael Betancourt.

Finally, given the Padres ballpark, I DO think that the Padres will continue to run.  Six players finished 2011 with double digit steals, including Chase Headley (13), Will Venable (26) and Chris Denorfia (11).  But, at the same time, I DON’T expect much power from any of the Padres hitters.  In 2011, Ryan Ludwick led all Padres with just 11 homeruns and I would be hard pressed to pick a hitter who will top 15 homeruns in 2012.

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DOs and DONTs: Cincinnati Reds

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DOs and DONTs: Cincinnati Reds

Posted on 21 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder moving out of the NL and, more importantly, out of the NL Central, the Reds look to take advantage of a weakened division.  With the addition of Mat Latos, a healthy Scott Rolen and one of the top Rookie of the Year Candidates in Devin Mesoraco, the Reds have the look of a contender, not only for the division, but also for the World Series.

Here’s a look at the DO’s and DON’Ts as they pertain to the Reds roster this season.

DO take Joey Votto in the first round.  With a career slash line of .313/.405/.550, an average of 30 homeruns the last 3 seasons and triple digit RBI’s and Runs the last two years, he is the kind of player to build a fantasy team around.  His consistency will help you in head-to-head leagues and his sheer volume of stats will help you in rotisserie leagues.

DON’T expect much from Scott Rolen.  He’s going on 37 years old, has a history of shoulder issues and hit only .242/.282/.397 last year.  Sure, he could have one more good season left in him, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

DO take a chance on Zack Cozart.   He has some pop and some speed and probably won’t hurt your average.  He is in line to be the Reds starting shortstop this season and could surprise.

DON’T overdraft Devin Mesoraco.  Yes, he is one of the top prospects in the game, but Dusty Baker is a bit rookie adverse and may have Mesoraco split time with Ryan Hanigan or even start the year in the minors.  Mesoraco is still the Reds catcher of the future, the question is whether Baker considers that future to be now.

DO pay close attention to the left field spring battle between Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick.  Heisey hit 18 homeruns in just 279 at bats last year, but had an ugly 78/19 K/BB ratio.  Ludwick has struggled the last couple years, but that could partly be due to playing in the cavernous Petco Park.  Ludwick hit .281/.343/.484 in 281 at bats with the Cardinals in 2010 before being traded to the Padres and should benefit from the change in scenery.

DON’T expect a high batting average from Drew Stubbs.  He struck out 205 times in 604 at bats (33%) last year and has struck out 422 times in 1298 career at bats (32.5%).  He can provide you with 15-20 homeruns and 30-40 stolen bases, but his strikeout totals concern me.

DO draft Mat Latos in the early rounds.  Sure he is leaving the friendly confines of Petco Park, where he has posted a career 3.11 ERA, but his 3.57 ERA on the road in not bad and his peripheral stats are pretty similar.  Bottom line, he is not going to lose much from the move and with a better lineup behind him, he should win a lot more games.

DON’T forget about Johnny Cueto.  He has improved his ERA and whip each year, including a 2.31 ERA and 1.09 whip last year, before missing the end of the season with a lat injury.  He is expected to be fully healthy to start the season and, while he may not post an ERA under 3.00 again this year, he should still be one of the top 10 pitchers in the NL.

DO keep an eye on Aroldis Chapman.  He is being stretched out this year to compete for a rotation spot and will likely battle Mike Leake and Jeff Francis for the last spot in the rotation.  He still has an overpowering fastball that can reach triple digits, but I’m not sure how it will translate to a starting role.

DON’T sleep on Homer Bailey.  The Reds former top prospect struggled in his first two seasons in the majors, but has shown some improvement the last few years.  His walk rate in particular has dropped from 4.1 in 2009, to 3.3 in 2010 to 2.3 in 2011 and he could be ready for a breakout.

DO draft Ryan Madson as your primary closer.  After years of serving as Brad Lidge‘s caddy, Madson finally got the chance to serve as the Phillies closer for the majority of 2011 and posted 32 saves while only allowing 2 blown saves.  He is a pretty safe bet to save 35-40 games in 2012.

Finally, DON’T forget about Jay Bruce or Brandon Phillips.  Neither of them are stars, but both can provide you with good production.  Phillips’ stolen base numbers have declined each of the last 3 years, but he can still hit around 20 homers with 10-15 stolen bases.  Not bad for a second baseman.  Bruce hit 32 homers and drove in 97 last year.  He won’t hit for a high average, but its hard to find many guys with his power in the post-PED era.

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Fantasy’s Biggest Winners And Losers Of The Offseason

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Fantasy’s Biggest Winners And Losers Of The Offseason

Posted on 07 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

The Hot Stove is cooling down and fantasy baseball season is right around the corner.  With many fantasy owners starting to prepare for their drafts, here is a look at some of the biggest winners and losers of this offseason.

WINNERS

Yonder Alonso – Stuck behind Joey Votto in Cincinnati and incapable of playing left field, Alonso escaped his own personal purgatory when the Reds traded him to San Diego for Mat Latos.  After hitting .293/.370/.466 in 4 minor league seasons and .299/.354/.479 in 117 at bats in the majors, Alonso will finally get a chance to show what he can do.

Edinson Volquez – Another player whom the Reds sent over to the Padres as part of the Mat Latos trade, Volquez’ value immediately gets a boost as a result of pitching in Petco Park.  Volquez gave up 19 homeruns in just 108.2 innings pitched last year.  If Petco can help cut that total in half and he cuts down on his walks, he has a good chance to push his ERA under 4.00 for the first time since 2008.

Jarrod Parker/Brad Peacock/Tom Milone – Acquired by the A’s as part of the trades of Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, at least two of these 3 pitchers should step into the A’s rotation immediately.  With Dallas Braden and Matt Anderson injured, its possible all 3 will start the year in the rotation.  Parker and Peacock have the most upside of the 3 and all of them got a cup of coffee in the bigs last year.  Expect all of them to see significant time in the majors in 2012.

New Closers – Due to trades and free agency, Matt Thornton, Rafael Betancourt and one of Grant Balfour/Fautino De Los Santos/Joey Devine will be stepping into the closer role in 2012.

Thornton saved 3 games for the White Sox in 2011 and takes over for Sergio Santos, who was traded to the Blue Jays.

Betancourt filled in as closer for an injured Houston Street in 2011, saving 8 games.  With Street traded to San Diego, the closer job is Betancourt’s to lose.

Finally, with the trade of Andrew Bailey to Boston, either Balfour, De Los Santos or Devine will assume the role in 2012.

LOSERS

Ryan Braun – Although nothing has been decided yet, Braun’s value could take a serious hit if his 50 game suspension for the use of performance enhancing drugs is upheld.  Braun has appealed and maintains his innocence, but to date no player has ever won an appeal.

Carlos Quentin – Acquired by the Pares from the White Sox, Quentin moves from one of the better hitters’ parks to one of the worst.  After hitting .288 in 2008 with 36 homeruns for the White Sox, Quentin has hit only .245 with an average of about 24 homeruns the last 3 years.  Both numbers could drop even lower in 2012.

Aging Veterans – It appears that teams are starting to realize that they can get the same productivity out of some young rookies that they would get from an over 35 veteran.  As a result, players like Johnny Damon, Vlad Guerrero, Raul Ibanez and Hideki Matsui are still looking for work, while others, like J.D. Drew, Milton Bradley and David Eckstein are considering retirement.

Former Closers – Since there are winners in the closing shuffle, there has to be losers as well.  This year’s losers are Mark Melancon, Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez), Francisco Cordero and Francisco Rodriguez.

After saving 20 games for the Astros in 2011, Melancon was traded to the Red Sox and was considered a replacement for the departed Jonathan Papelbon up until the Red Sox acquired AnDrew Bailey.

Caught for identify fraud, Oviedo’s status for the beginning of 2012 is still up in the air.  However, one thing is for certain, with the Marlins signing Heath Bell this offseason, Oviedo is no longer the closer.

Cordero saved 37 games for the Reds last season, but struggled to find a job this winter.  He finally signed a 1-year deal with Toronto, where he will set up Sergio Santos.

After being traded to the Brewers mid-season, Rodriguez surprised them by accepting arbitration this winter.  Unlikely to receive more on the open market, Rodriguez accepted a setup role with the Brewers.  The Brewers avoided arbitration with Rodriguez by signing him to a 1-year, $8 million contract and could still try to trade him.

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